Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (13)
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Chris from Jacksonville, Florida says:

My VN800A is just a hair over 44,000 miles and still running strong. Recently had the oil changed and the carbs cleaned and it runs as good as the day

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Voted Most Helpful Review 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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My VN800A is just a hair over 44,000 miles and still running strong. Recently had the oil changed and the carbs cleaned and it runs as good as the day I bought it new. This bike is almost bulletproof. It even survived my wife using it for the DOD required MSF course.
- Chris, Jacksonville, Florida

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2006-11-10 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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Started riding on May 13 2007. Bought a new 2006 Honda Rebel and rode it 1200 miles just to realize it is much too small for my size and not stable in side winds. After passing the MSF course, I purchased (07/19) a used 2003 Vulcan 800 A9 with 2550 miles on it that has not been ridden for 2 years. After puring into the fuel tank Sea Foam, as well as Yamaha special solution into the carburator, the bike came alive and runs like a champ since than. 80 MPH on highway - no problem. 50 mph in 2nd gear - no problem. Accelerates, cruises and overall performs beyond expectations. Yea, it has chain which requires cleaning (I do it every 1500 miles) and yes, it is carburated, so it needs some warming in cold days. But I have ridden it in temperatures between 35 - 90 F and had no issues. One of the best deals you can get as a used bike. 5 star all the way.
- Zohar Rennert, Merion Station, Pennsylvania

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2004-04-08 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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I am about to top 20K on a 2003 800A, runs as good as when it came off the showroom floor.
- Chris Steinbach, Jacksonville, Florida

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2004-04-02 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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I've had my new Vulcan 800A for 3 days now. I am very impressed with the overall quality of this bike. And believe me I studied the market before buying. It truly is the best value out there. In my opinion the pictures on Kawasaki's site do not do this bike justice. Seeing it in person, it is much more impressive. It looks fantastic. And with a few modifications it will look devastating. It is the perfect bike to modify to the max. The price leaves a lot of room in the budget for modifications. And you'll want to make a few; the stock exhaust is way to quiet. My impressions riding so far. Love the tall and skinny front tire with spoke wheel, it looks very cool. The motor is the most impressive part of this package. It's got guts, stock right off the show room floor it will surprise you. Your smile gets bigger and bigger. Handling is good, the fork is raked out so this is not a sport bike, and the brakes are average but adequate so again this isn't a bike to ride hard at the limits all the time but that isn't my thing anyway. Change the seat ASAP, I do not care for the way it feels and I think it looks atrocious. If you get one you won't be disappointed.
- Jon H., Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

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2004-03-26 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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It's an overall great bike. I had a small problem when I first got it. The carburetor was sneezing and would backfire. It was an easy fix. There was a mixture problem witch is common with the Vulcan. As a stock bike it's a good buy, very easy to maintain. I did a lot of modifications to the bike. I had got it so the performance got better along with the looks and feel of the bike.
- matt brooks, bayshore, New York

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2004-03-26 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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Returning to riding after 25 years, I wanted an easy bike to ride that was forgiving of re-learner errors. I got a used 2002 model with 800 miles on it for $4,000 with 4 year Kawasaki warranty. At 6 ft/175, bike is a perfect fit. Rides two up with ease. After 2500 miles and a year, I can say that it rides great, has had zero mechanical problems, IS very forgiving and has great power. It will keep up with the HD 1450 cc bikes with no problem. Added Vance & Hines pipes which give a robust throaty rumble, small Vulcan windshield and short sissy bar. Still like to look at other bikes but have yet to see one I like better. Get to ride often a friend's 2003 HD Softtail Deuce and I always can't wait to get back on my bike because of the better, easier and more responsive handling. Weight is light enough that small miscalculations in balance won't result in a dropped bike. When buying I was told, "don't be too concerned about first bike because you won't be riding it in a year as you will upgrade". That is definitely NOT true for me. This bike is a keeper. It may not be that best bike for touring & long trips but it is the most fun of any bike I've ridden and probably the best value.
- WLS, Charlotte, North Carolina

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2004-02-25 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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The Kawasaki Vulcan 800 is a very good bike. It's obviously styled after the Harley-Davidson standard, and will be mistaken for such by many people. The hidden "softtail" rear suspension, bobbed rear fender, and chromed spoke wheels all help complete its late '60's 'chopper' look. The 800 series is also available in a more classic "cruiser" style, or an early '40's style. All three are similar mechanically and you'll be best served by purchasing the "style" of cruiser you like best. The 800 has plenty of power for a single rider (It won't win any drag races however), the rider position is excellent if your the right height, and the position of the controls and foot pegs are excellent. The 45mpg or so fuel economy is average, and not unexpected with a motorcycle this size. And many people will complain about the "high upkeep" chain drive, but cleaning, oiling, and adjusting the chain is easy enough for a mechanical neophyte and only needs attendance every few thousand miles. Of course there are a few things about this bike that keep it from being "Great": Power. The 800 is plenty powerful for long distance tours with a single rider, and has lots of low-end grunt for 'round town trips for two, but could benefit from an extra gear in the tranny as it likes to be kept under 75mph with two riders (a problem for interstate trips). But you must understand that this is a budget 800cc cruiser, and not a 1600cc-touring bike. So you should perhaps look towards a different model if 700-mile days are your goal. The aforementioned chain drive. Yes a Kevlar-belt would be less work, but would also raise the price of the bike (A ridiculously low $5999 if you ask me). The seat/saddle. This is by far the worst motorcycle saddle I've ever sat on. You'll reach your own conclusion to purchase a quality aftermarket seat by the end of your first riding season. Corbin (www.corbin.com) and Mustang (www.mustangseats.com) are well known sellers of aftermarket saddles. Handling. The 21" skinny front wheel does nothing to help the poor cornering/handling of this bike. This is simple physics and a concession that must be made for style. The Vulcan 800 Classic and Drifter bikes do not have this problem. Rear drum brake. Another concession to price, the rear drum brake is woefully underpowered compared to a good disk brake. The drum brake is more than sufficient if you operate your cycle within reasonable limits and leave a proper amount of a safety zone in front of you, but don't expect the bike to "stop on a dime" and save your butt should you decide to spend much time above 65mph. Carburetor. Yes in a world of electronic fuel injection its odd to still find a functional carburetor on a brand new vehicle. The problem is that emissions regulations and carburetors don't mix. Many people will complain about backfiring and the bike being "cold blooded" (needs a few minutes to warm up). There is really nothing you can do about it without a carburetor adjustment (Such as an excellent K&N kit), but doing so will likely affect your mileage, power output, and emissions output (should these matter to you). All that being said, the aforementioned problems are really minor nitpickings on an otherwise well designed machine, and the price considerations of a chain drive, carburetor, and drum brake can be best experienced by price shopping the stylistically similar Harley-Davidson softail standard with its belt drive, fuel injection, and disk brake. But the $18,000+ your likely to pay will tend to steer people back toward the Vulcan 800 with its technology (and sticker price!) from yesteryear. In summary: Great looks (if you like 60's style choppers) and a good bulletproof engine. The incredibly low price of $5999 for an 800cc full-sized cruiser is amazing, and should leave you plenty of coin to purchase a new saddle, bags, or a windshield.
- Garrett, Carthage, New York

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2003-11-23 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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As you probably noticed I dropped it one star. This bike has a problem in turning. The front wheel is too thin when trying to turn, the bike seems to want to go straight. I think that now I have it under control. As a new driver this is the only problem I believe you will have,it takes a little while to get use to. Everything else seems to be great. I have installed a backrest, saddlebags, engine guards. it is still a lot of fun and I do not want to put it up for winter.
- bob melman update, adrian, Michigan

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2003-09-29 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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It's my first bike good power, keeps up with a 1100cc 1600cc bike. up and down in the mountins.
- RON BARNES, DENVER, Colorado

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2003-08-07 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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I can't tell you how many times people came up to me and said "Nice Softtail". Guess what, I let them think it, and then I tell them the truth, and how much I paid versus what you'd pay for a Softtail Harley. This bike has been great. Put on 6000 miles just this year alone. It has a lot of power, and looks great too. Love it!!
- Sue, New Castle, Delaware

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2003-06-29 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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I've had the bike for a month now and really enjoy it. It has more power than I expected even riding two up. A 6th gear would enhance it's highway riding much better(RPMs to high for highway speeds). Customizing this bike is unlimited because of the number of after market accessories and parts you can get for it. Let's see, where do I begin ?
- Joe, Billings, Montana

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2003-03-12 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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I actually owned a 1997 Vulcan 800 (VN800A) that I purchased new in 97' and just traded earlier this month. The 1997 model is identical to the 03'model in everyway accept color schemes and tank emblems. I really loved that bike and kept it for 6 years. Its looks are so elegant and stylish. Its an obvious clone of a Harley Softail with its frame geometry being very similar with the excpetion of its shorter wheelbase. Even still, for a bike with 805cc, its frame is quite large. Close inspection of the bike's fit and finish illustrates quality throughout. The chrome quality is especially excellent with very little plastic anywhere. The bike's motor is extremely smooth and powerful. Its transmission shifts very smoothly as well. The motor sounds very competent and larger then it really is. Its midrange rumble is very Harley like, and with the appropriate aftermarket pipes, its sound is excellent, unique, and mean sounding. Power is good, not great, but good. I'm a smaller rider who weighs around 180lbs. This bike propelled me around very decently, and exhibits decent throttle roll on from speeds of about 55-75. Top speed of around 105mph is not too impressive, but fast enough for those not interested in speed. It cruises quite well at 70mph, and is very stable at speeds up to 90mph. The motor NEVER gave me an ounce of trouble. It was perfect, ALL THE TIME, and never once left me stranded. What I didn't like about the bike, and the reason why I gave it four stars instead of 5, was its handling. The bike sports quite a rake, and its 21" front wheel, while bump absorbing, doesn't make it exactly a turn burner. While getting underway from a stop, at an intersection, turning left or right, one has to turn wide to maintain decent clearence. Also, the 21" front tire, while being very stylish, is unstable during hard braking. Its lack of rubber/pavement contact allows the front wheel to lock up to quickly. In addition, while crossing crossable medians, the tire wants to bottom out quickly exposing that beautiful chrome rim to the rigors of the road. I also never liked chain drives, and this bike has one. I learned to live with it, and maintained it well. It only stretched once initially and I never had to adjust it again. I just didn't like the noise it made. Many people thought my bike was a Harley, and were shocked when I told them it was a Kawasaki that was purchased for roughly 1/3rd the price. This bike is a superb value. If you look hard you should be able to pick up a new one for roughly $5k. And, considering today's bike prices, 5K for ride like this is quite a steal.
- Paul Roy, Wonder Lake, Illinois

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2003-02-08 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycles View Listings

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I have the 2001 model and I love it. It has been a very realiable bike and does good on the highway and around town. My favorite thing is its handling and its looks people give me lots of compliments on it. And I don't have to worry about power I am 6'0 220 and I cruise 70mph with no problem. Although I want to up to the 1500 vulcan one day I am happy for now. There is no doubt this is the middle weight champ and you can't go wrong.
- vulcan bill, waxahachie, Texas

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